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Luxury on a Budget Spring Break 2017: Strat/Vdara 4/7-4/11

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by M_ILIS, Apr 13, 2017.

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  1. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    Prelude: Each of the last two years, my wife and I have taken our daughter to Vegas for Spring Break. This year was too alluring to pass up when myVEGAS offered special two-night hotel rewards for select nights between March and June, including at Vdara, which normally does not offer any free rooms from myVEGAS. So that was all the convincing we needed to start planning another Spring Break trip for this year. We booked Vdara for Sunday, April 9 through Tuesday, April 11.

    Not long after booking that, I realized Sunday the 9th was Masters Sunday. As an avid golfer, watching the final round of the Masters is a much-anticipated annual event, but now I’d scheduled myself into embarking on a drive to Vegas that day. So I decided maybe we should extend our trip and go early. As you might expect, weekend hotel rates were quite expensive everywhere, and I definitely didn’t want to pay Saturday night rates at Vdara, but I remembered an email offer from the Stratosphere I’d received regularly – $50 first night, second night free with resort fee waived on the second night as well. I’d been receiving these for a while but never knew if that rate applied to weekends, or if maybe the whole thing was a scam. So I called them and it did! My wife was able to get Friday off work, so we booked two additional nights for our trip, not really sure if we’d enjoy Stratosphere or not. Even though we’d need to switch hotels on Sunday, I’d at least avoid driving four hours during the final round of the Masters. And, of course, it meant twice as long of a vacation!

    In an attempt to keep this whole trip fairly budget-minded, we also purchased several Groupons. I got three tickets for Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream at Sin City Theatre inside PHo. I got a sushi dinner for two or more at a Japanese restaurant about 15 minutes from the Strip called Sushi Ko. And I got indoor mini golf and laser tag for four at a place sorta near the airport called All Family Fun Center.

    We also selected and obtained some additional myVEGAS rewards for the Bellagio buffet and a meal at Nine Fine Irishmen.

    Finally, I scheduled a round of golf at Desert Pines Golf Club on Monday morning at 7:10.

    We’re all set, and off we go!
     
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  2. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2012
    Messages:
    1,356
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    41
    Day One: Friday, April 7, 2017
    We left our Orange County home around 9:15, made our customary stop at the Barstow Station McDonald’s, and had clear roads pretty much the whole trip. We took a quick bathroom break at Gold Strike, which gave my wife and daughter a chance to see the “Movie Cars” exhibit they have.

    (Click on any photo to access the full-size image on my Flickr page.)

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_131341406 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_131833922 by Mark, on Flickr

    We valeted the car at Stratosphere around 2:00 and there was a big check-in line, but then I noticed a few windows said they were reserved for anyone with a player’s club card. That saved us some time and we were assigned to room 21005 in the “Select” tower, which apparently houses their upgraded rooms. The room was basic, but totally acceptable. Not sure I’d want to stay in a non-upgraded room if this is what the upgraded ones look like, however:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_142747259 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_143228080 by Mark, on Flickr

    I really loved the bath products they provided: a pungent, fresh, herbal scent. Also the shower head was nice, which is important to me.

    We had a partial view of the pool, the backside of the Circus Circus Adventuredome and Palace Station across the 15, but not much else noteworthy.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_142718433 by Mark, on Flickr

    For the first couple days of our trip, Las Vegas was under a wind advisory with gusts expected up to 50 mph. They even proactively rescheduled the monthly “First Friday” event downtown due to gusty conditions in the forecast. I bring this up because a lot of our time was scheduled to be at the pool, and Stratosphere’s pool is elevated on the 8th floor, presumably exposing it to even windier conditions.

    After settling in, having a few drinks and snacks and watching some of the Masters, we hit the pool.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_155804049_TOP by Mark, on Flickr

    Getting the entire tower and some of the pool in a picture was a greater challenge than I anticipated:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_155918750 by Mark, on Flickr

    It was windy but warm, which made it fun. However, the water was bone-chillingly cold. When we went to the bar, they said Happy Hour had just started, meaning any 16 oz. drink off certain pages of the menu were buy one, get one free. So my wife and I each got a drink with Malibu Rum, Absolut Citron, pineapple juice and Sierra Mist (IIRC). Normally $12 each, but two for $12 plus a $3 Coke and tip, $18.

    Seeing The STRAT Tower soaring overhead is pretty cool out at the pool, but the views elsewhere aren’t so hot. Right next door is a boarded-up apartment complex.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_160015867 by Mark, on Flickr

    After a while we returned to the room and got ready for dinner. Tonight’s plan was to use the Sushi Ko Groupon. The deal included sake or soft drinks for two, a “normal” roll of our choice, a “specialty” roll of our choice, combination fried rice, two orders of nigiri of our choosing, and a banana dessert. We chose a California Roll, a Sexy Albacore Roll, tuna and salmon nigiri. At $35, it’s a hell of a deal, and at $28 after a 20% off promo code, it’s almost criminal because everything was delicious!

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_192623294 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_192731508 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_192742713 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_193704129 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_195637232 by Mark, on Flickr

    The Sexy Albacore roll had avocado, spicy tuna and cucumber inside with albacore, screaming “O” sauce, fried onions and masago on the outside. It was amazing, one of the best rolls we’ve ever had anywhere! After eating everything, I was still a bit hungry, so I ordered a Lemon Roll, which had thin slices of lemon on the outside along with yellowtail and salmon. The lemon made it extremely refreshing, actually a bit too tart for my tastes. The fried banana/Green Tea ice cream dessert was pretty good, too.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_200701664 by Mark, on Flickr

    All in all, we were extremely happy with Sushi Ko. If I lived in Vegas, I’d buy that Groupon as often as it allows!

    We returned to the Strat and decided to go check out the second floor “retail” area.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_205032435 by Mark, on Flickr

    It turns out there’s quite a large mall up there with gift shops, a tattoo parlor, a lingerie/sex shop, a comedy theater, a McDonald’s and much more. Even though we just ate, I wasn’t that full, so I got a couple chocolate chip cookies at a place called Mookies Gourmet Creamery & Cookies. They were good.

    After that, my wife and daughter were ready to go to bed, so it was a chance for me to start gambling. Turns out Stratosphere had lots of nickel DDB options, which was great.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_231107851 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170407_231216621 by Mark, on Flickr

    I hit those two quads but lost $20 on the night, and then I retreated to the room to call it a day.
     
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  3. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Day Two: Saturday, April 8, 2017
    Saturday began with a trip to McDonald’s for some coffee followed by the pool, which was fun for a while, but then my daughter was ready to move on to other things.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_104333661 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_104634513 by Mark, on Flickr

    We returned to our room, got ready and hit the road for lunch. Here’s a fun photo while waiting for our car from the valet area:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_135834275 by Mark, on Flickr

    We ended up finding a place called The Silver State Diner that had good reviews on Yelp, so we found it and went in. We were the only ones in there, and they handed us the TV remote, so I was able to watch the Masters during lunch! I had a patty melt, my wife had a BLT and our daughter had a grilled cheese. Everything was really good, but nothing mind-blowing. Just solid diner food, inexpensively priced.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_143049180 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_151300689 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_145449640 by Mark, on Flickr

    We hadn’t told our daughter about the Mini Golf/Laser Tag Groupon, so we drove there next and surprised her. This place has indoor, 3-D neon black-lit mini golf that requires you to wear 3-D glasses that makes the 3-D paint appear to practically jump off the walls. It’s fun, but the glasses were disorienting for my wife and daughter. I didn’t mind them, but they both opted to play without their glasses on. My daughter didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped she would, but we all had a pretty good time. Then we played a few arcade games before laser tag. They put us in with a large family, so there were a lot of “targets” in the laser tag arena. Both my wife and daughter had lots of fun with laser tag.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_153804671 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_153826690 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_155511691 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_163132948 by Mark, on Flickr

    Afterward, we played a few more games so my daughter could redeem some tickets for prizes, and then headed back to the Strat. At this point my wife went to do her first gambling of the trip while my daughter and I hit the pool again. The late afternoon wind was really howling across the pool’s surface, but we made the most of it and had fun. Meanwhile, my wife lost $40.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_182058827 by Mark, on Flickr

    As the sun began to set, we got ready for our night out, beginning with a trip up the Strat tower to the observation deck. When you stay at Stratosphere, it’s only $5 per person to go up rather than the usual $20. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, although for some reason the majority of my photos came out blurry. I think it was the time of day plus the fact that it was insanely windy, and maybe the tower itself was moving a tiny bit. The outdoor portion of the observation deck was some of the strongest winds I’ve ever felt. While taking pictures I was afraid that a big gust might swoop my phone right out of my hands.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_192425419 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_193239912 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_193715530 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_194244160 by Mark, on Flickr

    Tonight’s dinner destination was loosely targeted for downtown, either Pizza Rock, Chicago Brewing Company or the prime rib special at Market Street Cafe. We all decided prime rib sounded better than pizza, so off to the Cal we went. We arrived to find a line snaking out into the casino, but by the time I went and bought my wife a beer and a water for my daughter, we were almost ready to be seated. We all ordered the prime rib special, one with fries, one with mashed and one with a baked potato.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_202816261 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_203018667_TOP by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_205042948 by Mark, on Flickr

    The presentation might be lacking with a paper cup of horseradish placed right on the beef, but the taste was very good! We all enjoyed this, and it even includes a cherries jubilee dessert (basically vanilla ice cream with cherry pie filling in the bottom of the bowl, with whipped cream and a wafer cookie on top).

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_211859552 by Mark, on Flickr

    The after-dinner plan was to hit Fremont Street for a bit, but my daughter was getting tired and just wanted to head back to our home base. Because my wife had gambled earlier, I went out and had a good night. I played my $20 down to about $6, and then hit quad 2s:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_230252074 by Mark, on Flickr

    Then I played that down to about $5, and hit Aces Kicker!

    [​IMG]IMG_20170408_233047487 by Mark, on Flickr

    Boom! $100 on a 25 cent bet! I’m pretty sure the only other time I hit Aces Kicker was on a multi-play machine with a few cents on each hand, so that felt great. The machine went cold and I lost $25 of those $105 credits, however, before cashing out up $60 for the night. Then I pissed away $5 here and $5 there, including some video roulette. As I went upstairs for bed, I was up $45 for the night and $25 for the trip. It had been yet another great day in Vegas!
     
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  4. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Day Three: Sunday, April 9, 2017
    Sunday morning began the same way as Saturday, except for one difference: The air temperature had dropped so the pool was unbearably cold. Both my daughter and I agreed it was just too damn cold to swim. Believe me, we tried, but it was the kind of cold where it hurt when the water hit your skin. We bailed after a few minutes and returned to the room.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_095434079 by Mark, on Flickr

    We packed up for 11:00 check-out and I reviewed the folio on the TV. Unfortunately, it said I owed much more than I actually did, so I had to go to the front desk and get it sorted out. We packed up the car and headed down the Strip straight to Vdara, hoping that they’d accommodate us even though it was several hours before check-in time. We experienced a “bonus” Bellagio fountain show as we drove past.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_114937509 by Mark, on Flickr

    I’d never stepped foot in Vdara before, so it was fun to experience an all new hotel upon our arrival. We valeted the car and found no wait to check in. I inquired about getting a view room, but the front desk clerk said anything with a better view would require us waiting. If we didn’t want to wait, we could check in immediately. Seeing I wanted to get settled in and watch the Masters, we chose not to wait and were given room 35017.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_145546678 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_145100099 by Mark, on Flickr

    The room number is illuminated outside the door!

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_131852723 by Mark, on Flickr

    In we went…
    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_120537636 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_120632412 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_120647322 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_120755811 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_120805376 by Mark, on Flickr

    Our daughter LOVED operating the automatic curtain buttons to open and close the shades. Here’s our view:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_120956653 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_121038933 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_121214744 by Mark, on Flickr

    My daughter was amped to get to the pool, and even though I wanted to watch the Masters, I realized I didn’t want to sit around and waste my vacation time watching golf in a hotel room. So I went, too.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_132243220 by Mark, on Flickr

    In the early afternoon, we started getting hungry. I didn’t want to “waste” a meal on food from the market in the lobby, so I ran over to Secret Pizza at Cosmo and got us all slices.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_151844355 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_151446239 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_152409440 by Mark, on Flickr

    As usual, it was delicious! I got plain cheese for our daughter and white pizza with added pepperoni and peperoncini for me and my wife.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_152859752 by Mark, on Flickr

    We hung around the room to enjoy our plush surroundings and watch the conclusion of the Masters. At some point a housekeeper stopped by to bring us the linens for the sofa bed and several extra MGM-branded water bottles, which are included at Vdara.

    Tonight’s plan was to see the magic show at PHo at 7:00 and then figure out somewhere to eat dinner afterward. So we walked through Bellagio over to Planet Hollywood, enjoying the sights along the way. They told us to get there early, so when we arrived there was hardly anyone in line. While waiting for the show to start, my wife went and gambled at PHo for a few minutes and lost another $20.

    (Weird aside: After purchasing the Groupons for this show, I called the theater box office to reserve tickets specifically for this night. At that time, they reserved three seats but said they didn’t need the Groupon redemption codes until I arrived to pick up the tickets. But when I went to the ticket window and mentioned I had three Groupons for the show, she just looked up my name, gave me my tickets and told me to mark the Groupons as redeemed in the app. My point is that at no time did anyone confirm that I actually had purchased the Groupons, unless Groupon sends them a list of names who have purchased tickets and they cross-referenced it there. I just thought that was odd.)

    It worked out well that we were early, however, because the General Admission tickets are seated on a first-come, first-served basis, so we ended up getting pretty decent seats in the smaller-than-anticipated Sin City Theatre.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_182438896 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_182431781 by Mark, on Flickr

    Because we’ve made so many “family” trips to Vegas over the last few years, we’ve seen many of the magic shows currently running. Most are pretty good and others are a step or two down the ladder. Well, when Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream began, I feared it was going to rank among those further down that ladder due to underwhelming production values and what feels like a makeshift theater. But as the show went on, I was won over and we all ended up really enjoying it. With Xavier’s Cirque roots, the show definitely has a different vibe than some of the loud, whiz-bang! comedy/magic shows. As the name implies, it’s more surreal, mystical and inventive. Xavier even composed the original music that’s used in the show.

    He did a meet & greet in the lobby afterward and posed for a picture with our daughter. (He looks irritated in the photo, but he was really nice.):

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_200848270 by Mark, on Flickr

    After the show, we couldn’t think of anyone nearby that sounded good for dinner, so we headed back to Vdara. (Actually, I wanted to try Giordano’s at Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops but I’d read that it takes a long time for a pizza, and I knew my daughter wouldn’t want to sit there waiting for our order for nearly an hour.) After relaxing in the room for a bit, we decided to drive over to Ellis Island for dinner at the cafe.

    I thought we might be able to get right in, but they said it would be a 30-40 minute wait, so I played some nickel DDB while my wife and daughter waited in the restaurant. I hit this novel quad:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_215645073 by Mark, on Flickr

    My wife ordered the (unbeknownst to her) gigantic Hangover Burger, my daughter got the steak special and I had the fish & chips. Everything we had was delicious and the service was good. For dessert, we split the Really Big Ice Cream Fudge Brownie Thing or whatever it’s called.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_220711375 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_222136096 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_222121323 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_222141026 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170409_225507039 by Mark, on Flickr

    After dinner we drove back to Stratosphere because my daughter had left some stuff in a drawer earlier, so I went in and retrieved that from the Lost and Found. Then we headed back to Vdara and were all ready for bed, especially considering I had to get up at 6:00 am the next day to play golf.
     
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  5. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Day Four: Monday, April 10, 2017
    I actually woke up around 5:00 and couldn’t sleep more than a few minutes at a time until 6:00, so I got up and headed to Desert Pines. The early morning sky was really cool looking.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_062012034 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_062314953 by Mark, on Flickr

    I played with a couple of Vegas locals who play Desert Pines frequently. The course is supposed to evoke the feel of the Carolinas due to the abundance of pine trees, but it wasn’t all that convincing to me. It’s a pretty decent course and I’m glad I played it once. Here are some pics:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_071450326 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_075003158 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_081754411 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_084242310 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_085944897 by Mark, on Flickr

    Cool view of the Strat and Downtown from the elevated 17th tee:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_095356638 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_101924591 by Mark, on Flickr

    We played pretty quickly and I was back to Vdara by about 11:30. At that point we hit the pool again.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_123758538 by Mark, on Flickr

    The “Vdara Death Ray” was in full effect under today’s sunny skies, meaning when walking around suddenly we’d find ourselves in an area that was probably 20 degrees hotter than the spot right next to it. Fortunately the lounge chairs benefit from abundant umbrellas. Unlike Stratosphere, the pool water at Vdara was very warm and almost not refreshing enough. We really enjoyed it, though. Gazing up at the ultra-clean lines of Vdara and the gleaming Aria towers always captivates me.

    We returned to our room and decided to venture out on the Strip for a light lunch and to just see what we find. This time we walked through Cosmo to reach the Strip, and stopped to purchase an Art-O-Mat souvenir along the way.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_141435955 by Mark, on Flickr

    Then we headed across the Strip to try out Taco Bell Cantina. They have some fun merch like this foam taco hat.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_142245124 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_142336411 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_142419251 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_143822268 by Mark, on Flickr

    We each got something small and my daughter got a cherry/Coke Icee, which was yummy. While eating, we opened the Art-O-Mat box to see what we got. It was this little pendant:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_143510194 by Mark, on Flickr

    I rarely do it, but I love aimlessly roaming the Strip when in Vegas. After Taco Bell Cantina, we ended up catching a Bellagio fountain show (Star Spangled Banner AND Con Te Partiro! Jackpot!) and walked over to Caesars for a bit.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_145858926_TOP by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_150032310 by Mark, on Flickr

    Then we headed back through Bellagio to Vdara, stopping to redeem our myVEGAS rewards for the Bellagio buffet en route. We also made the obligatory tour through the Conservatory. So much beauty!

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_153628916 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_160120578 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_160207460 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_160221297 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_160411152 by Mark, on Flickr

    Time for another quick pool session, followed by some down time in the room as the sun went down.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_172801796 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_192823076 by Mark, on Flickr

    Eventually we returned to Bellagio for our Buffet dinner, only to find a huge line to get in. I’d heard about bad lines here, but on my only other occasion eating here, I got right in. Not only was the line long, but then an employee came around selling line passes for $10 each. That didn’t sit well with me. It’s one thing if people’s Mlife status earns them a line pass, but to sell them outright seems low class and like a pure money grab. Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t go for it, because my wife turned $20 into $108 while playing a few machines while we waited in line. About 45 minutes after arriving, we paid and were seated. Here’s a sampling of what I ate:

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_210522588 by Mark, on Flickr

    Seared salmon, scallop ceviche, pizza, pesto tortellini:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_211009966 by Mark, on Flickr

    Prime rib:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_212613168 by Mark, on Flickr

    Lemon pepper crusted hangar steak, roasted cauliflower (yummy!), assorted sushi:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_213837208 by Mark, on Flickr

    Desserts that were just meh:
    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_215651049 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_220514417 by Mark, on Flickr

    Overall, it was good, not great. Every time we eat at a buffet, my wife swears them off for the future, and maybe she has a point. Our myVEGAS rewards made it a no brainer, though, only paying for one person and getting two buffets free.

    After dinner, we wandered back through the Conservatory. Please tell me this sign wasn’t put up out of necessity…

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_222201240 by Mark, on Flickr

    …but I can’t imagine why else they’d do it. Oh the humanity.

    We all returned to the room stuffed full of food and tired, especially me because I’d been up essentially since 5:00. However, it was our last night in Vegas, so I didn’t want to let it go to waste. I decided to take the tram to Monte Carlo to play nickel DDB, and I’m glad I did.

    It was a great session of VP! I hit quad Kings quickly and then 10s just a couple minutes later, which meant I was playing with house money for the next 30 minutes or so.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_232725014 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170410_233102594 by Mark, on Flickr

    Finally my credits dipped below the $20 I initially put in the machine, but then I hit Kings twice more, followed by Jacks.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_241255813 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_242514031 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_244852635 by Mark, on Flickr

    To cap things off, I was dealt 3s with the kicker!

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_245206450 by Mark, on Flickr

    I played those credits down to $60 and cashed out up $40 for the night and up $73 for the trip, plus one tasty Gin & Tonic at MC. I got back to Vdara around 1:30 and fell asleep by 2:00.
     
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  6. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Day Five: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
    I set my alarm for 8:00 because I knew my daughter wanted one more pool session before we had to check out at 11:00. I went downstairs and fetched my wife some coffee at the lobby Starbucks and then around 9:00 my daughter and I headed out to the pool one last time. The pool started in the shade, but the sun rose over Aria in the hour we were there to bathe the area in sunlight.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_095449710 by Mark, on Flickr

    We checked out at 11:00 and drove over to NYNY for lunch at Nine Fine Irishmen. My wife had the $35 myVEGAS voucher and I had the $25, so together we had $60 for lunch. My wife had a Blue Moon while my daughter and I each had Diet Cokes. My daughter got the kids cheeseburger, my wife had the Irish Cheesesteak and I had the NFI burger, which includes a slice of Irish Bacon, Irish Cheddar and a tomato compote.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_120255628 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_122042687 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_122053612 by Mark, on Flickr

    All of it was fantastic! I really, really loved my burger, and it was very filling. However, one of the reasons we wanted to come here was for their incredible bread pudding, so we had to order that despite our fullness.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_130237056 by Mark, on Flickr

    The bill came to a little more than $60, so we only had to pay a few bucks plus tip. Thanks myVEGAS!

    Next we headed over to M&M’s World, where my daughter spent some of the souvenir money she brought with her. It was a zoo in there and it seemed like they are piping in a fake chocolate scent now that repulsed me. It smelled overly sweet and a little sour, like spoiled chocolate milk or something. Not a fan.

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_140057800 by Mark, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_134503943 by Mark, on Flickr

    On the way back, the girls each got some sunglasses at a cheap stand inside NYNY

    [​IMG]IMG_20170411_142841567 by Mark, on Flickr

    Sadly, then it was Time to Say Goodbye. As “Five Hundy by Midnight”’s Tim Dressen tweeted during a recent trip, “Las Vegas is where fun lives.” I couldn’t agree more. I seem to love this city more each time we visit it. Farewell, until our next adventure…
     
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  7. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Odds and ends:
    Our room never got made up at the Stratosphere, although they offered to send someone when I called to request new towels. At that point we were getting ready for dinner and didn’t want to bother with someone cleaning our room.

    Overall, I actually enjoyed the Stratosphere more than I expected. The room was decent. The pool was nice. The observation deck for only $5 was great! The shops were sort of interesting. And the casino had lots of nickel VP, which is right up my alley. The location is awful, though, and if you choose to stay there, you pretty much have to do so knowing you’ll drive for meals, etc.

    The Pool staff at Vdara was amazing. Everyone we dealt with was very friendly and always asking if they could do anything for us.

    Using valet parking sure was nice again. We’ve opted for self parking since MGM instituted parking fees, but valet was free at Strat (tipped every time, obv.) and Vdara does not offer self parking (although you can self-park at Aria, if you choose). We lucked out and avoided the $6/day fee increase that started the day after we left – $18 is now $24. We did self-park at Strat one night when valet looked busy and more of a hassle than its worth, and we then realized self parking was probably a closer walk to our room than valet anyway.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  8. Miller12pack

    Miller12pack High-Roller

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    I love those aces with the kicker. What a nice looking family you have.
     
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  9. oldcrabtom

    oldcrabtom Low-Roller

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    GR8 report! You certainly didn't let any grass grow under your feet..........:woohoo:
     
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  10. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Awesome report, Mark!
    You have a cute family!

    Your Vdara pics have me longing for another stay there. I love it there!
    And that taco hat is fantastic! :thumbsup:

    Thanks for sharing! :D

    RICHARD
     
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  11. amk121

    amk121 VIP Whale

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    Great trip report! Thanks for doing that
     
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  12. JeJas

    JeJas VIP Whale

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    Great trip report!
    Looks like you had a wonderful vacation with family.
     
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  13. pleasemum

    pleasemum High-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing your family time with us. You guys sure pack a lot in to your trip.
     
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  14. Joejoejackson

    Joejoejackson The Max Bet King

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    Beautiful pics thanks for sharing... Looks like ya all had fun. Great report
     
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  15. Rush

    Rush MIA

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    Wonderful report! Great pics!
     
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  16. sporty8705

    sporty8705 VIP Whale

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    does your son not go along anymore? I thought in earlier reports, you had 2 kids that you went with..?
     
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  17. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC TBD

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    Great family vacation. Thanks for sharing.
     
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  18. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS VIP Whale

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    Thanks for remembering! He's at an age where Vegas doesn't work for him... Too old for the "kid stuff" with his sister but too young to do any real Vegas-y stuff, so he chooses to stay home. We told him he would've loved Vdara, though.
     
  19. Valgal

    Valgal VIP Whale

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    Great report- I always love reading yours.
     
    40th Wedding Anniversary if we make it that long
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  20. MichiganRich

    MichiganRich Tourist

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    Great report my man! I loved reading it, and the pics were right on point. A beautiful family to boot. Lucky! Thanks so much for taking the time to share in such detail!
     
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